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tv   Rock Center With Brian Williams  NBC  March 7, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

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tonight on "rock center," for better or worse he's the symbol of fatherhood in the age of facebook. the dad whose daughter's online rant prompted him to shoot her laptop with a .45. tonight matt lauer asks father and daughter what they've learned since their family issue went viral and spread around the globe. >> if what hanna marie did wrong, then how could your response to it, publicly humiliating your daughter online, been right? >> also tonight richard engel has reported from a lot of places dangerous but nothing like what he brought back for us tonight, fukushima a year later.
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>> we gained rare, up-close access to the mangled fukushima plant and the exclusion zone. >> we're at 17.3, 17.7. >> including a forbidden town frozen in time. when i was a kid they showed in school these day after movies, what would happen in the event of a nuclear holocaust. this isn't just a ghost town, it's a town of death. tonight the continuing fallout and fear that now reign over the people that still live near the plant. it's called gawker for a reason. it's the website that goes there, and tonight you meet the founder out to rewrite the rules of reporting. >> here are the wording most often used to describe gawker. shameless, mean. >> occasionally. >> irresponsible. >> defined by whom? >> it has taken down the powerful, and has helped produce a $300 million gossip empire.
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>> we run things pressures to run. >> the gem we discovered in the archives. what thaz crazy kids were up two 50 years ago. something new called spring break. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening, and welcome to "rock center." 31 million people have watched a video the on the webb that chronicles a father's anger over facebook post. the dad delivered an eight minute lecture about respect and responsibility and then delivered nine rounds from a .45 into a laptop. it spread quickly on the web because you don't see that every day, and it became an instant classic of parenting, whether it was good or bad is still being debated.
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tonight matt lauer has the first interview with father and daughter in this family feud gone viral. >> people have made a lot of judgments based on eight minutes and 23 seconds. >> this is from my daughter hanna and more importantly for all her friends on facebook who thought that her little rebellious post was cute. >> if what hanna marie did was wrong, publicly humiliating her parents on facebook, then how could your response to it, publicly humiliating your online, have been right? >> well, i stand behind it, but then again, i have regrets from it, too. >> it's no surprise that tommy jordan is sticking to his guns. he knows his way around a pistol. >> that right there is your laptop. you see it it's out here on the ground. this right here is my .45. that was the first round. >> they became the shots heard
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round the web. >> one, two, three, four, five, six. after that comment you made about your mom, your mom said to put one in there for her. that one's from her. if i got one left. i got two left. now i'm out. >> tommy, 31 million people have watched this video online. did you have any idea it would garner that kind of attention? >> absolutely not. no way. i mean, it was crazy. it was intended for 15 or 20 people, you know. >> but it was really directed at just one person, 15-year-old hanna marie. before unloading his gun he tore apart her angry facebook post point by point. >> pay you for chores you're supposed to do around the house? >> jordan shot the video from
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his home in north carolina where he runs his own i.t. company. he wasn't looking for attention, and he was just trying to teach his daughter a lesson. >> i don't know how to say i'm disappointed i am in you and how disrespectful you were to every single daut inadult in your life. >> you said to your wife talk me out of putting a bullet through a up laptop. did you ever say talk me out of doing this publicly. should i greet hanna and do it in the privacy of our own home? >> i wasn't thinking about a 31 million viewer audience. it didn't cross my mind. >> you're an i.t. guy, and you know once you put something online. >> you're right. i was not cognizant of the moral blessing to scream about for months, be careful what you say. at that time in my mind, i have that at the forefront of my thoughts, just like she had it in the forefront of her thoughts
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when she made her post. people make mistakes. i wasn't thinking about the national audience. i was thinking about my kid, my daughter, my father, us. >> hannah, you started this in a very real sense, as you smile. you started it. >> it's your fault. >> you started it with that facebook posting, and it was a pretty rough rant against your parents. what got you to that point? >> i was sure that i talked about my parents and it bottled up nsdz and it came out at once. >> as you were typing, hannah marie, that kind of letter on facebook, did you think what if? what if he sees this? >> i really didn't think about it. it didn't cross my mind. >> faye me back to the moment you discovered this posting by accident. >> i was white hot. probably read it three or four times, and just floored, hurt, just disappointed, angry, mad. >> what in that posting got you
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the most? >> two things. the derogatory way she spoke about the cleaning lady. >> we have a cleaning lady for a reason, her name is linda, not hannah. if you want coffee get off your [ bleep ] and make it yourself. >> the other thing was the language. i don't want the people from church and her family and friends to think it's okay that anyone in our household uses that language, especially on a public, open for her rumum. >> in this digital age precious little is private. >> this generation has a new waying of thinking about life, which is i share therefore i am. >> sherry is a psychologist from m.i.t. who studies how technology is changing our families. >> this video for me and the response to it is an example of a wake-up call for how many families are so frustrated with how we have not gotten it right. we're broadcasting things that are really -- only can be
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resolved by an intimate conversation between parents and children. >> i warned you months ago about what would happen if you did something like this on facebook again. >> when you first saw the video, what was your first reaction? >> i don't want to go home. >> pretty much. i knew we would talk about it when i got home, and that it would be okay after that. >> what were those first few minutes and hours like? >> i mean, i was mad. i was sad. >> scared? >> not really. >> did you think what he did was appropriate? did you think as a parent he handled this in the right way? >> if i was my kid, i wouldn't have done the same thing, but i understand where he came from. >> she doesn't talk a lot about how shee feels. it bottles up, and you saw what happens when it bottled up that long. she exploded on facebook. of course, i exploded on facebook. >> what's the lesson? >> once you put it out there, you can't take it back.
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>> i'm going to give each one of you a do-over, you can do it over again, hannah marie, what would it be? >> probably wouldn't post it. >> tommy, what would you do over? >> i would have been more careful and said things nicer and portrayed my daughter in a better light because i think my hurt emotion that day give the wrong impression of my girl. that's not what i want them to have. >> thankses to matt lauer. hannah marie is still grounded which means no tv, no internet. no word on her dad about whether or not she might be getting a new laptop. by the way, feel free to join the debate tonight on our website, up next the third version of the ipad came out today. meanwhile, people are still figuring out extraordinary things the first two can do. a bitter later on richard engel back from his trip inside japan's no-man's-land poisoned by radiation. >> this drugstore has been like
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today we're announcing the new ipad, and it is amazing. >> that's tim cook, the new ceo at apple, announcing the new ipad today. and by the way, that's what apple is calling the product, though most folks will call it the ipad3. while its not like the current ipad screen isn't crisp and sharp already, they promise this new one is, to quote them, stunning. there are also 200,000 new apps for the ipad on top of all the others, and a lot of them have to do with making music, which is the business of the man you're about to meet. the ipad is his instrument. he is a professor at stanford,
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and he is something of a modern day music man. ♪ >> there's undeniable joy in music-making that actually is a joy that a lot of people may well go through life never experiencing. so technology is a way to get more people to make music. i'm gil wall and i'm a professor at stanford and i'm the co-founder of a startup creating music application mobile devices. ♪ >> whether that's like a laptop or pc or your iphone. i grew up in beijing with my
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grandparents where on one side of the apartment there was constant sounds of the beijing oprah, and the other half was western classical music. i grew up in a really a very sonic and musical environment. how many people have actually seen this instrument before? as a researcher, the one thing that i want to do is change the way people maybe thought about or actually went about making music with technology. just a simple tilt up and down. the goal is really the same. how can we get a lot of people to start making music with things you don't normally think of as musical instruments per se. this is the magic piano. whether you've played piano all your life or never touched a piano or another musical instrument, here's a piano everyone can play and be expressive with. you have to follow the lights.
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music is also an incredibly social endeavor for people in different locations. they can actually jam together. to actually be musical with another human being somewhere on this planet, whether it's someone you know or a total stranger, that seems like it could be totally magical. ♪ ♪ >> anyone who actually has one of these devices is already, like, the owner of a potential musical instrument. and making music should never feel that hard. it should just feel as easy and natural as picking up the phone and calling your best friend. >> on that note our thanks to professor wong of stanford
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university. when we come back, the haunting scene richard engel found upon arrive in fukushima where people left there quickly and haven't yet returned. later, it's where some of the stories we see in the mainstream media got they are start way upstream and the man who runs the empire who calls himself the gossiper. [ male announcer ] you'd be shocked how much data you use in a month. e-mail, status updates finding your way uploading photos downloading an app an app, and another app. kilobytes, megabytes gigabytes... all stacking up until you reach your limit. and what happens if you go over? with sprint, you don't have to worry. only sprint offers truly unlimited data. trouble hearing on the phone? visit [ female announcer ] introducing new fresh take. kraft natural cheese with flavorful spices and breadcrumbs. all to help you make something amazing. ♪ life is amazing with the love that i've ♪ ♪ found ♪
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back here live in our new york studios, and when "rock center" continues, richard engel will be here with us to talk about what he found in that no-man's-land of fukushima in japan. email, talk. directions, applications... my phone's dead, uh, my business is dead. my phone battery starts blinking... beep, beep, beep... no, no, don't run out... boom phone dies. really?...really?? [ man ] so this phone lasts longer than any other phone? -this is sweet. -it feels really sleek. it's super thin. the 4g is so fast. this is cool. if i could use my phone all day i'd definitely feel more powerful. [ male announcer ] the all day. all night. droid razr maxx by motorola. the longest talk time of any 4g smartphone. now at verizon. ♪
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welcome back. our chief foreign correspondent anniversary of the earthquake that triggered the tsunami in japan which led to the fukushima nuclear disaster. to this day that area for good reason is called the exclusion zone, and that's where richard went. he found that time had stopped and life has yet to return as japan deals with the fallout. >> a year ago the earth suddenly snapped, and japan was convulsed by the most powerful earthquake
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in history. an hour later a massive tsunami swept six myles inland swallowing entire times and setting off a triple meltdown on a nuclear station on the coast near fukushima. when the three reactors exploded a cloud shot in the sky of steam mixed with particles of radioactive cesium. it contaminated hundreds of square miles. a year later, a 12-mile radius around the crippled nuclear pland has become japan's exclusion zone. the calendars in this once busy factory haven't changed since the meltdown. the factory's owner made electronics here. he was the last person to leave town. >> translator: there are buildings, there are cars, and until yesterday there were people. they were friends, but the very next day, there's no one. >> access to the exclusion zone
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is forbidden, but former residents can make brief visits to collect valuables. we've just entered into the exclusion zone. there are houses here, restaurants. sushi and radishes it looks like. schools factories. this was a densely populated area, and now it's all empty. nobody's here at all, and it's very eerie and very radiated. how far away were from the plant itself? >> reporter: about five kilometers. >> as we get closer, radiation levels were 100 times higher than normal levels of .2. >> we're at 17.3, 17.3. we've already reached 19. now it's at 22, 23. the area in the immediate vicinity around the power plant itself is still very much a hot spot. it's even hotter here.
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these rare images showing the mangled nuclear plant today. it will never, can never operate again. next stop on this tour, his hometown of akuma, a year ago population 10,000, today zero. >> this drugstore has been like this since the earthquake struck. all of these bottles thrown onto the floor. moments frozen in time, entire towns abandoned. no one's coming back. the only sign of life here, herds of ferel cattle left by their owners. people left in a hurry leaving clothes behind in a laundromat. when i was a kid they showed day after movies, what would happen in the event a nuclear holocaust, how the world would become radiated. that's what it feels like here.
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this is a ghost town, a war zone. look over here. there's someone's child's toy scooter, a garage door is down. basketball hoop up. somebody lives here. it's as if some sort of plague came over the town. >> translator: they all disappeared at once. >> this was your house? >> translator: two weeks after the explosion, almost every house was looted, and because the earthquake destroyed the doors, it was easy. >> all that damage was from the earthquake. so it's like you were attacked twice, first the earthquake hit, and then once you survived that, then you get this cloud of radioactive dust raining down on the city. >> translator: actually, three times, and then we were looted. >> then you were looted. yes, i forgot about that. when we were there today, you seemed to be able to laugh at the situation, even joke about how strange it was.
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>> translator: this was my office. >> this was your office? you have some ties ready to go. how have you been able to retain a positive spirit throughout all of this? >> translator: since i can't change the past, i think of what i can do next and then i point myself in that direction. in my head i'm only thinking about starting a new life doing new work in a new land. >> what do you do with all of this area, miles and miles around the plant that is useless, that is dangerous? do you just write it off and forget it ever existed and never go back? >> translator: they'll never get rid of the radiation, so they should completely seal this area off and dump all the contaminated material from the rest of the country here. >> you you think the town should
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be ask fisedsacrificed for the good of the other communities? >> translator: that's right. this isn't just a ghost town. it's a town of death. >> the town may be lost, but fukushima city, 40 miles away, was never evacuated. yet, it was contaminated. wind carried the cesium here, and snow brought it down. this man watched it fall. what happened to fukushima when that snow filled with radioactive particles started falling on this city? >> translator: we were suddenly faced with a new reality where everything was contaminated by radiation in a snow that would never melt began pouring on us. >> the government is trying to clean up fukushima, a city of 300,000, but where do you even begin? first, you hose down the roof. then cut all of the leaves off
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all of the trees. then dig up the top two inches of soil in your yard, and finally temporarily stash it here, a former baseball diamond now covered with giant bags, each one somebody's radioactive garden. a former colonel leads the cleanup effort. >> translator: the people of fukushima really are frightened, so it's important to meet residents and on to communicate with them directly to remove their fears. we can definitely make this cleanup work. >> but the colonel needs more storage space. at a town hall meeting, he asks residents it to let the city bury radiated soil in their own backyards. she doesn't let her daughter play in the backyard anymore. she has hotspots, places where radioactive particles have
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concentrated. this brick here under this drainage pipe, it is a hot spot? >> most of are here. it was higher before, but no matter what we do, that's as low as it goes. >> like everything else in the neighborhood the little schoolhouse where her daughter goes was also covered by rad yags. iation. the teachers wrote a book about it to explain it to the kids. blast. that day there was an explosion. rain cloud brought us nuclear fallout. i see you're getting upset reading this book thinking about all that's happened. it this school that was so hopeful, work of hope, is closing down. your daughter is now 6.
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have you noticed her change? has her personality changed as a result of all of this? >> translator: all of her friends have left, so i think she's feeling very lonely. thinking about it makes me cry. >> because radiation is much more harmful for growing children, kids in fukushima receive free body scans. the increased cancer risk may be small for adults, but it's ten times higher for children. monk is pitching in, clearing contaminated soil from roads near schools. >> translator: this is a hot spot. we measured just across from an elementary school. >> he's even donated land above his temple to store the community's waste. >> translator: if we don't take possession of the radioactive waste, we can't bring back the smiles of the people.
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>> the government says that your efforts, while appreciated, are illegal, that you are stockpiling, if in effect, nuclear waste on your property. >> translator: if there's no place to keep it, you can't decontaminate, and p ifif you can't clean it up, you can't live there. so your only option then is to run away. >> run away like they had it to in akuma, radiated for decades to come. the town that died. >> richard engel back with us. because you can't live there, you can't have your little daughter wearing a mask and having a hot spot in your front yard, will we see a huge population shift? is it already under way, and do they get compensated? >> the people in the actual exclusion zone got some compensation, not a lot.
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$15,000 to $30,000. that's an initial payment. those are just the people na live in that 12-mile radius. the people in fukushima however haven't got anything because the government's position is that fukushima can be cleaned up. the woman who has hotspots in her yard, that's in fukushima city. that's where they're trying to clean it up. so so far she hasn't gotten anything. they hope they can dig out all these invisible particles. >> this stuff never leaves us or goes away. if this had been new york, chicago, l.a., san diego -- >> if you have a house, let's say, just outside new york in any suburban town and have a couple acres or half-acre plot. what they would try to do is hose off your roof and let all the water drip to the ground and all the particles wash away. then cut the leaves off all the trees.
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once that's on the ground dig up everything, the pebbles, the shrubs and trees and bury it itself. it means it's going into the ground and water. by the way, it doesn't really work, because next time it rains, the rain will find a nook and cranny in the house you didn't get or it blows in from another house or it gets washed down from the hills by the snow. it doesn't go away. you can reduce it, but you can't get it out of the system. >> the consequences go on. welcome back. great piece of reporting. when we come back after a break, they have have the brand name on the web by rewriting the rules of the rode on thead on the way. a lot of gas. yep. want to see if this walmart low price guarantee can help you out with that? ok! every week they lower thousands of prices and check over 30,000 competitor prices. check out that low price. you want to grab one? grab two.
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welcome back. p if p if you know the names like dead sfin and jezebel you'll see our profile tonight with the man in charge.
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if none of that rings a bell, there's a good chance you will know their work. they give birth the stories the folks in print and television end up chasing. it starts with the website gawker and it starts at the top, a guy named nick denton. recently jamie spent time with the man who calls himself the gossip merchant. >> the stories are so outrageous, you can't ignore them. the blogs of gawker media. all sites that have become the envy of the internet, and made this man one of the most powerful forces in media. meet 45-year-old nick denton who says the key to his success is breaking all the rules. here are the words most often used to describe gawker. true not true. >> snashgy? >> yeah. >> sexual? >> yes. >> nude photos of private parts? >> if it's interesting.
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>> you report rumors. you don't always check it out. >> yeah. >> shameless. >> yes. >> irresponsible. >> defined by who? >> mean. >> mean? occasionally. >> his victims might argue more than occasionally. but denton is unapologetic. is there any place or subject that's off limits? >> i'm asked that question sometimes, and i try to -- i don't like to define the answer. >> so they pay for scoops, publish rumors, settle lawsuits when they have to, and if they get it wrong they simply update. >> people need to get their head around the fact that the web is different. that we publish faster. we change faster. we correct faster and frankly or standards of publication are lower. >> they also borrow without
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remorse. most are cannibalized items taken from other sources, repackaged and topped off with catchy headlines. along the way gawker has reported original stories that broke big news. when an apple engineer actually left his iphone 4 proet foamtotype at a bar they paid $5,000 by the person that found it and scooped appleby posting the first pictures three months before the official release. >> stop me if you've already seen this. >> in reality, steve jobs was furious. gawker was the first to report this item revealing that married new york congressman chris lee sent a shirtless photo to a woman on craigslist. >> the fastest moving capitol hill sex scandal ever. >> it ended his career. lee resigned in a record two
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hours and 27 minutes. >> and this story about quarterback brett favre went viral when gawker's sport site deadspin paced for photos and voice mail he sent to a jets employee. the nfl launched an investigation, then fined favre $50,000 for failing to cooperate. >> some things never get published or broadcast, those are the stories we run. we run the offcuts, the things you're too precious it to run. >> way reputation for mischief, he has cultivated the image of the naughty outsiders but insists his blogs are about the truth. >> this will sound really, real estate pretentious but i believe in the truth arrived at in a messy fashion. gossip is part of the process that we put out a story and it's rougand-ready, p and
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newspapers come and follow a day or two later once we did the dirty work. >> that dirty work started a decade ago when denton moved to manhattan and launched gawker out of his apartment. educated at oxford, a former reporter, denton found young bloggers and paid them $12 a post and had only one rule. nothing was off limits. what was your vision for gawker when you started? >> that it can be awe then it the authentic and up capture the real conversations, things that people actually talk about. our catch line is whatever we know, whatever we think. >> that that made gawker media the most valuable blog network estimated worth $320 million, and it's earned denton a variety of titles villain, visionary, the skunk at the garden party of manhattan's media elite, a
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reputation he relishes. are you going to become a u.s. citizen? >> if i could become a citizen of the new york i would. >> not the rest of the united states? how elitist of you. >> we're an elitist publication. >> that said denton considered himself an outsider, even growing up in england. >> i'm not nearly as british as people think i am. i'm a gay hungarian jew, so i'm going to be at home in new york as nipple london. >> what did you think you were going to do when you grew up. >> i wanted to go into politics. >> what happened? >> i was gay. >> you were gay and that was -- there are not gay people in politics? >> certainly there weren't then, and i couldn't see myself with a picture of the wife and kids. >> instead he became an internet media mogul. his empire is housed in these trendy downtown offices complete with a roof deck for parties.
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the bloggers have grown up. >> over there? >> i'm 33. >> 37. >> they're well-paid. they get health insurance. >> they do. >> a 401(k) plan. >> they do. >> they're well educated. harvard, principle ton. >> some have masters degrees in journalism from columbia. >> they still like to promote a rouge image. >> it seems they've updated the front page. within minutes of our arrival nbc became the target. that's really unfortunate. you're going to get no comment. we're living in the gawker age where news is driven by what will draw a crowd or in this case a click. >> this is the most terrifying thing we have to show you here. this is -- every single week is sweeps.
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the numbers tell the whole store story. >> it displays the second by second traffic on all of their sites. it's a popularity contest and the bloggers know what drives traffic. yes, there's a reason bloggers cat videos. what do you love in a story, nick? >> i love stories that tell us the truth that everybody knows. >> such as? then denton did what gawker is famous for. said the name of a celebrity he claims is gay but in the closet. >> everybody knows. >> does it matter if it's true? >> yeah. >> gossip won't repeat. apparently denton who thought he couldn't run for office because he was gay, now thinks outing is good for business. >> i find that kind of journalism disgusting. >> david carr covers media for "the new york times" and is a critic and fan. >> you love a gawker is you have
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a taunt rolling around in the back of their mind and they reach up and snatch it and render it into the web. they're very, very good at that. >> what's the thing you like the least about gawker? >> there were a group of ninth grade girls who knew everything and saw everything and said everything, the mean girls who ran the show and laid waste to everyone they saw. that's gawker. they rule the playground. it's partly because they'll say unspeakable things. >> whether it's a crass headline about kids overdosing on heroin or insulting steve jobs right after he died, it has no place on the internet. so is mocking celebrities. >> this is the tom cruise scientology video. >> it's something you have to earn. >> friends are not immune.
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recently he received a private e-mail from this man at nbc which included a critique of a certain musical guest on "saturday night live." denton sent it to the editor in chief of gawker, who promptly posted it. let's talk about brian williams. he sent you a private e-mail. >> yeah. >> and you burned him. why did you do it? >> i messed up. >> this is a personal e-mail. what kind of person does this? >> we publish stuff -- we publish stories ahead of maintaining relationships with people without access, favor or discretion. >> so you really don't apologize for it? >> for that? >> yeah. >> it was a mess-up internally, but no, i don't. >> anything for a story, especially one that gets a lot of clicks. do you care whether people respect you? >> i don't need it in the short
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term. i'm prepared to wait for years. i like nothing better than to be proven right, and i can wait quite a long time for that. >> what would like your legacy to be? >> told the truth, the whole truth. >> what would be the snarky nick denton want to see as the headline? >> telling the truth, please. >> all the atmospherics aside, in the web it's a tricky business proposition for some folks. how's their business? what was your take-away? >> he says it's getting better and better. the numbers are going up and up. for people who knkow gawker, this won't surprise them, but if you've never been to their sites, a parental advisory. there are a lot of very sexually explit sit graphic things on the site. i like to see political
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correctness as no place at gawker and neither do children. people should be aware of it. he's now talking about an art and culture site. so he would hate for me to say that he's going reputable or establishment, but you do get the sense that it's growing up. >> jamie gangel, thank you for your reporting. when we continue tonight, the discover this network made 50 years ago. ♪ ♪ our machines help identify early stages of cancer and it's something that we're extremely proud of. you see someone who is saved because of this technology you know that the things that you do in your life, matter. if i did have an opportunity to meet a cancer survivor i'm sure i could take something positive away from that. [ jocelyn ] my name is jocelyn and i'm a cancer survivor. [ mimi ] i had cancer. i have no evidence of disease now. [ erica ] i would love to meet the people
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excuse me where are all the shoes? girl the sale started at 6am! well girl it's only 8:20! [ thinking ] why so early? [ alarm buzzes ] has it always been this way? rise and shine joe! it's 6am! we have to get to the sale! [ ellen ] have you lost your marbles? why do we have to get up so early!? won't the same things be on sale later today? [ audience laughs ] why is that so funny? [ audience laughs ] ♪ ♪ buying this juicer online was unbelievable. what a bargain! [ female announcer ] sometimes a good deal turns out to be not such a good deal. but new bounty gives you value you can see. in this lab demo one sheet of new bounty leaves this surface cleaner than two sheets of the leading ordinary brand. so you can clean this mess with half as many sheets. bounty has trap and lock technology to soak up big spills and lock them in. why use more when you can use less? new bounty. the clean picker upper.
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>> the search for a suspect in baltimore. wh welcome back. one of the great things about working here, it's really like television's attic. we have decades worth of tv history in one building, including what we recently found in the archives and want to show you tonight. this was an nbc news friday night special called "daytona
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beach: where the boys went." it's hosted by "nbc nightly news" anchorman chet huntley, and it aired on an april night in 1962, which appears to be the night, by the way, when nbc news discovered something called "spring break" in daytona beach, florida. >> tonight, daytona beach, where the boys went presented by listerine listerine. the '62 ram berrerblerambler. increasingly in recent years college students spend their easter vacations at beach resorts. our crew, after spending two weeks for them, found they drank beer and danced the twist day and night. neither of these appeals to older eyes as an aesthetic activity but neither is especially shocking. it almost seems as though the students arrive doing the twist, and they dance here at the side
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of a pool behind ail motel for as much as ten hours a day. they rarely touch and the most they do is suggest. the twist is much too strenuous to be as wicked as it looks. >> the college kids you see here are now 70. they were born while world war ii was under way and many went to vietnam and not all of them came home. the whole world was about to change beginning with television. there was no color and note the magnified burlap theme backdrop, the listerine commercial that leaves you with the impression that businessmen of the era wouldn't think about hitting a flight attendant without fresh break. back on the beach a spring break tradition was born back then that continues to this day. most of their drinking and some drank up to 30 cans a beer a day was confined to the beach. they didn't always twist. they danced something called the holly golly and something else called the mashed potato.
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they didn't always dance. they drank beer and talked almost always about themselves, about each other and their generation. >> this special aired two months after the first american orbited the earth and 19 months before president kennedy was assassinated. we didn't worry about the environment or skin cancer or smoking. it doesn't look like they were worried about anything, but then you hear from the college students. one worry was con form mitt. >> you're getting ready to do what everyone else is doing when you graduate. this is becoming one of everyone else. >> you can begin to hear how growing up in the first generation of nuclear weapons was crushing to the american soul and the american ideal of a brighter future for each generation. >> i think our generation realized we're the first generation in history that could blow the world apart with the atom bomb. >> i'm scared to death.
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>> i think it's dangerous to generalize too broadly about these children of ours. i would suspect they're not as wicked as we fear or good as we wish. this is not the happy breed we were. we may have been the last of them. as our scientists bombard the moon and our astronauts prepare to invade it, these youngsters have acquired an inflated sense of geography. a world with the happier place would be their oyster. did you see what i think i saw? a determined and fierce pursuit of fun as though it were about to be outlawed or go out of style. >> how about that. chet huntley from 50 years ago. by the way, the full program ran 30 minutes. we've put it all on our website, we urge you to look at it, and on the off chance you think you might be in it or know someone who is, we would love to know that. otherwise, it's just a time up
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capsule pfrom another time in our country. that's it for our broadcast tonight. coming up next week here on "rock center," kate snow investigates charges that teenage foreign exchange students have been abused in the past by members of their host families here in the u.s., and that the state department and companies administering the program didn't do enough always to stop it. >> hi, it's kate snow with nbc news. wondered if you would answer a few questions. >> we will have that investigation next wednesday night here on "rock center," 10:00/9:00 central. so for all of the good people that worked so hard to bring you this broadcast tonight, thank you for being here with us. i hope to se >> live, local, late-breaking, this is wbal-tv 11 news. [captioning made possible by constellation energy group] captioned by the national captioning institute >> 6 community


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